Janeen Trembley, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology

Janeen Trembley

Contact Info


Office Phone 612-467-2877

Fax 612-467-2594

Office Address:
Research Service (151)
Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Mailing Address:
Research Service (151), Room 4P-123
Minneapolis VA Health Care System
1 Veterans Dr.
Minneapolis, MN 55417

Postdoctoral Fellowship, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN

PhD, University of Minnesota (Genetics)

BA, Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA


Research Summary/Interests

Dr. Trembley is a research chemist at the VA Health Care System in Minneapolis and an assistant professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology in the University of Minnesota Medical School. She began her research career focusing on regulation of the cell cycle, the series of events that take place in a cell as it grows and divides. Her studies of the cyclin B1 gene helped to reveal the key role of altered messenger RNA stability during liver regeneration in laboratory animals.

Trembley has undertaken investigations into the cell biology, biochemistry, and function of a protein kinase called cyclin dependent kinase 11 (CDK11), a member of the cyclin-dependent kinase family, which is known to be essential for cell cycle control and also plays a role in cell death. She focused her CDK11 research initially on identifying proteins that interact with CDK11. As a result of this work Trembley and colleagues at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital were able to establish that CDK11 regulates RNA splicing and that CDK11, casein kinase 2 (CK2), and transcription and splicing are linked, proving a knowledge platform for these important cell-signaling networks.

Recently, Trembley and her fellow investigators have expanded their studies of CK2 and CDK11 to explore their involvement in different types of cancer including prostate, head and neck, skin, and breast cancer. They employ a nanoencapsulation technology with the ability to protect a drug cargo, such as small interfering RNAs or kinase inhibitors, and are able to direct the nanocapsule precisely to malignant cells where the drugs disable CK2 and CDK11, thus interfering with cell survival pathways and killing the tumor. Though still in the research phase, this approach has clinical potential for treating both primary and metastatic tumors.


Loyer, P. and Trembley, J.H.  Roles of CDK/Cyclin complexes in transcription and pre-mRNA splicing: Cyclins L and CDK11 at the cross-roads of cell cycle and regulation of gene expressionSeminars in Cell & Developmental Biology, 20 May 2020.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.semcdb.2020.04.016

Afzal, M., Kren, B.T., Naveed, A.K., Trembley, J.H., and Ahmed, K.  Protein kinase CK2 impact on intracellular calcium homeostasis in prostate cancer.  Mol Cell Biochem (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11010-020-03752-4

Ahmed RL, Shaughnessy DP, Knutson TP, Vogel RI, Ahmed K, Kren BT, Trembley JH. CDK11 Loss Induces Cell Cycle Dysfunction and Death of BRAF and NRAS Melanoma Cells.Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2019 Apr 2;12(2). pii: E50. doi: 10.3390/ph12020050

Cannon CM, Trembley JH, Kren BT, Unger GM, O’Sullivan MG, Cornax I, Modiano JF, Ahmed K: Therapeutic targeting of protein kinase CK2 gene expression in feline oral squamous cell carcinoma: A naturally occurring large animal model of head and neck cancer. Human Gene Therapy Clinical Development, Volume 28, Number 2, 2017. DOI: 10.1089/humc.2017.008

Trembley JH, Kren BT, Abedin MJ, Vogel RI, Cannon CM, Unger, GM, Ahmed K: CK2 Molecular Targeting —Tumor Cell-Specific Delivery of RNAi in Various Models of Cancer. Pharmaceuticals 2017, 10, 25; doi:10.3390/ph10010025

Ahmed K, Kren BT, Abedin MJ, Vogel RI, Shaughnessy DP, Nacusi L, Korman VL, Li Y, Dehm SM, Zimmerman CL, Niehans GA, Unger GM, Trembley JHCK2 targeted RNAi therapeutic delivered via malignant cell-directed tenfibgen nanocapsule: dose and molecular mechanisms of response in xenograft prostate tumors. Oncotarget. 2016 Aug 20. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.11442. [Epub ahead of print]

Qaiser F, Trembley JH, Sadiq S, Muhammad I, Younis R, Hashmi SN, Murtaza B, Rector TS, Naveed AK, Ahmed K. Examination of CK2? and NF-?B p65 expression in human benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer tissues. Mol Cell Biochem. 2016 Sep;420(1-2):43-51. doi: 10.1007/s11010-016-2765-3. Epub 2016 Jul 19.

Trembley JH, Unger G, Korman VL, Tobolt DK, Kazimierczuk Z, Pinna LA, Kren BT, Ahmed K. Nanoencapsulated anti-CK2 small molecule drug or siRNA specifically targets malignant cancer but not benign cells. Cancer Letters 315: 48-58, 2012. PMCID: PMC3225714.

Trembley JH, Unger GM, Korman VL, Abedin MJ, Nacusi LP, Vogel RI, Slaton JW, Kren BT, Ahmed K. Tenfibgen ligand nanoencapsulation delivers bi-functional anti-CK2 RNAi oligomer to key sites for prostate cancertargeting. PLOS ONE, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0109970, 2014. PMCID: PMC4198192

Unger GM, Kren BT, Korman VL, Kimbrough TG, Vogel RI, Ondrey FG, Trembley JH, Ahmed K Mechanism and efficacy of sub-50 nm tenfibgen nanocapsules for cancer cell-directed delivery of anti-CK2 RNAi to primary and metastatic squamous cell carcinoma. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 13:2018-2029, 2014. PMCID: PMC4126856 [Available on 2015-08-01]

Kren BT, Abedin MJ, Unger GM, Vogel RI, Henzler, CM, Ahmed K, Trembley JH. Preclinical evaluation of cyclin dependent kinase 11 (CDK11) and casein kinase 2 (CK2) survival kinases as RNA interference (RNAi) targets for triple negative breast cancer therapy. Breast Cancer Research, 17:19, 2015. doi: 10.1186/s13058-015-0524-0. PMCID: PMC4344788